So, ever since I posted that article about the new NECA Alien Series 4 Jonesy figurine, I’ve been reminiscing about sci-fi of old. Believe it or not guys, the 70s is old now. Hell, 1995 was twenty years ago. I’ve been thinking a lot about how people always say “it’s scary how…” in reference to the passing of time. I do it too, but it doesn’t make sense. Time passes, it’s a natural thing, or so I’m told. In fact, at the same time that we fear the passing of time, we honour it. Just next month I’m helping run a 70s themed sci-fi convention in Melbourne, Con 70, because these things are worth celebrating. So rather than fear the passing of time, I prefer to think “how lucky am I to have watched the entire nine seasons of The X-Files when it aired on TV?”, or, “how blessed am I to have experienced the exquisite agony of waiting one whole week to watch the next episode?” Ok, maybe not that last one. Netflix has ruined me for broadcast TV. But, still, I think it’s pretty amazing that I watched The X-Files during the peak of the 90s. As a friend of mine once told me, “sometimes, I just stop and think how lucky I am to be alive during a time when Star Trek exists in the world”. Damn. I feel that. And in honour of that sentiment and in no particular order, I present the following list of a few of my favourite retro (20+ years old) sci-fi/fantasy films or television shows:

Labyrinth (1986)


Bowie_LabyrinthOk. I just needed to get that out. But seriously, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve judged people based on their opinions of this movie. This movie is the exclamation mark of my childhood. It’s 80s kitsch fantasy at it’s very best. The fantastical characters and scenarios in this film ignited my imagination like nothing else. This was long before the days of CGI and split production schedules, so you really felt the impact of the world, too.

Oh, and Bowie. BOWIE. Anyone who knows me (and a few people who don’t), knows I’m a hardcore Bowie fan. I grew up on Jareth and Stardust, so my childhood was pretty magical. I’ve refused to let go of that magic, or the image of Jareths cod-piece seared into the back of my retinas.

Alien (1979)

RipleyMy love of this film is visceral. I find it disturbing, horrifying, highly-engaging and surreal at once. I could wax lyrical about how ground-breaking this film was at the time of it’s release, or how it defied expectations and precipitated a new genre of science-fiction (known now as sci-fi/horror or body horror), but it’s all been said before.

What I love about this film is the harrowing tension built into the screenplay. The opening scene alone is enough to make you lean back, chatter nervously and stuff your face with popcorn. And the worst of it is, you won’t see the Alien until over halfway through. Actually, that’s the best of it. This film is perfectly paced. It’s also perfectly cast. As I mentioned in my NECA/Jonesy post, Ripley is somewhat of a hero of mine and considering that role was originally written for a man, Weaver SMASHED IT, along with the patriarchy, in my opinion.

Jurassic Park (1993)

This movie was SO much fun. I was all of ten years old when this was released at cinemas and it BLEW MY MIND. I wondered for years why the scientists of the world hadn’t just engineered some dinosaurs out of tree sap DNA. I mean, what were they waiting for? It was honestly conceivable to me that Spielberg had stumbled upon a scientific breakthrough writing the script for Jurassic Park. It could happen. Anyway, I just love this film. The soundscape is enchanting, the script is infinitely quotable and the plot is predictable yet satisfying, like double chocolate ice-cream. It’s everything you want in a family/action film, plus Jeff Goldblum. Need I say more? Oh, and the trailer for the new Jurassic Park movie, Jurassic World, looks amazing. Watch it here. For now though, watch this, because your life will be improved by it.

The X Files (1993-2002)

X_Files_Wallpaper_by_inane_artI’ve spoken at some length about my love of The X-Files in this post, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Let me just say that The X-Files has left me with three dysfunctional character traits in my 30s: one, an obsessive love for David Duchovny despite his personal or professional missteps; two, an irrational fear of alien abduction; and, three, a love of kooky Internet conspiracy theories. I mean a real love. Not like a “Lol! Look how crazy these guys are!” love, but like a “THIS COULD HAPPEN” love. *closes blinds*



Predator (1987)

arnie predatorUsually, I’m not a fan of action movies, but I make a massive exception for this one. Actually, it’s not that I make an exception, I’ve simply loved this film since my dad first exposed me to it when I was a child. He probably shouldn’t have, but I now credit him with my exceptional taste in crass action/sci-fi films, so truly, thanks, dad. I’m not sure what it is I love so much about this film. It’s outrageously butch, sexist, predictable and tacky. I guess it’s that it delivers on all four elements in spades that makes it overwhelmingly hilarious. Also, I actually find the Predator incredibly engaging and truly frightening. I used to lie awake at night convinced I could hear that metallic purr the Predator makes when contemplating the kill. Terrifying.

Now, I relish the throw-away lines and frenzied action of the film. My favourite Predator experience was attending the Tough Guy Cinema screening of Predator at The Alamo in Austin Texas, which included a live pyrotechnics show in cinema. MIND=BLOWN.

So tell me, what are your favourite retro films?